Tuesday 27 September 2016

Greece crisis: Thousands join crowdfunding efforts to fund €1.6bn bailout

David Kearns

Published 30/06/2015 | 13:24

Demonstrators gather to protest against the European Central Bank's handling of Greece's debt repayments Credit: Neil Hall
Demonstrators gather to protest against the European Central Bank's handling of Greece's debt repayments Credit: Neil Hall

As Greece teeters on the brink, an ambitious plan has been launched to save it – get everyone in Europe to donate €3 to 'crowdfund' its €1.6bn loan payment.

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As ridiculous as the campaign sounds (the €1.6bn IMF loan repayment is due tonight at 11pm) it could work says Thom Feeney (29), whose Indiegogo campaign to encourage every European to donate "the cost of a feta and olive salad" has already raised €120,302 in less than 24 hours.

Read More: Greece set to default on IMF loan, European shares extend slide

“All this dithering over Greece is getting boring. Why don't we (the people) just sort it instead,” the British man's campaign says.

“The European Union is home to 503 million people; if we all just chip in a few euro then we can get Greece sorted and hopefully get them back on track soon.

“€1.6bn is what the Greeks need. It might seem like a lot but it's only just over €3 from each European.

The Greek Bailout Fund, less than one hour ago, has 7 days left despite the 11pm deadline tonight
The Greek Bailout Fund, less than one hour ago, has 7 days left despite the 11pm deadline tonight

“That's about the same as half a pint in London. Or everyone in the EU just having a Feta and Olive salad for lunch.”

Read More: Greece crisis: 'Drachma is back team' claim dismissed as 'fantasy' by Tsipras

Despite the jovial tone, Mr Feeney’s crowdfunding campaign is gathering steam.

Less than three hours ago it was slightly above €23,000. Now it is almost triple that figure, thanks in part to the 7,550 people who donated so far today.

Three euros earns a postcard of Tsipras, sent from Greece; €6 delivers a feta cheese and olive salad to a donor’s door; and €10 gets a voucher for a small bottle of ouzo.

For those with slightly deeper pockets, €5000 promises an all inclusive seven days in Athens (EU citizens only; while €1,000,000 promises the eternity gratitude of the Greek people.

Read More: Kenny rejects plea from Greece for one-month extension of bailout fund

It is not exactly clear how Greece could legally accept such a large transfer of money from Indiegogo to government but Mr Feeney appears to be holding out hope something can be worked out.

“That's one for IndieGoGo to help me with… [but] I suspect that there'll be plenty of people, better qualified than I am, that would be willing to help.

“I can understand why people might take it as a joke, but crowdfunding can really help because it's just a case of getting on and doing it.

“I’m not just making a statement, this is a real attempt to do something. But at the very least it's important to raise the issue of the plight of the Greek people at this time. Not just the profiles of politicians.”

Read More: Greece crisis: Leftist politics have doomed country to collapse

On Friday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras shocked Europe when he announced a July 5 referendum on the country’s bailout.

Greeks queued up around the country, trying to pull out cash ahead of a potential financial collapse, forcing the Government to close its banks and limited to ATM withdrawals of just €60.

The non-payment of the €1.6 billion will be the first time in the history of the IMF that an advanced economy has defaulted on a loan from the world's financial backstop, putting Athens in the same bracket as Zimbabwe, Sudan and Cuba.

Read More: Greece crisis: What happens next?

Asked by a reporter if Greece would make the payment on Tuesday, Varoufakis replied: "No".

On the possibility of an 11th hour aid deal with international creditors - with the current programme expiring on Tuesday - Varoufakis said: "We hope so".

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